If you are a parent of a little one, you know that it is almost impossible to avoid anger attacks . Meals, bedtime, or going out in public can turn into a nightmare. These crises are not only the expression of a child’s emotion, but an interaction with the people who care for him , explains the website Greater Good Magazine .
The good news is that the way you react to the little one’s anger behavior is of crucial importance and influences the duration and severity of the crisis . The more you are able to keep your cool, the more anger will pass quickly and painlessly. It’s easier said than done, and it takes a lot of patience and training, but situations will become easier with time.
Take a break of three seconds
Take literally three seconds to react when your child makes a whim. Take a deep breath and ask yourself how you feel . You are hungry ? Thirst ? Back ache ? Are you stressed because of work? These external factors can influence your interactions with your child. Try to imagine your reaction if you were at your best, and focus on your sensory experiences . This awareness can help you stay calm.
Anchor your feet
An exercise of mindfulness can help you, even when the child is hysterical. When you feel your blood pressure go up and you think you’re about to crack it, concentrate on your feet . Feel your soles sink into the ground. Notice how the earth holds you back. Stir your toes in your shoes. Notice the sensations in the muscles and tendons. Then, refocus your attention on your child.
Our instinct is to rush to distract, reassure or repair things, and to make sure everything goes well. But sometimes, what will comfort the child and the parent, is simply to be present, to sit and listen to the distress of the other without trying to stop it quickly.
If soothing words are not enough to calm your child, try to react physically. It may mean placing a hand on his shoulder, rubbing his back as he kicks and screams on the floor, or wraps him in a hug . Of course, watch his signals to make sure it’s something he needs, because sometimes, when the emotions are bright, the touch may seem intrusive . But, most of the time, being affectionate can help you both regulate your emotions and calm you down.
Many parents think that children can remain calm in the face of frustration before the age of two, when in reality, this capacity only begins to develop after three and a half years . And it takes several years to fully master it. Facing this reality and accepting it helps us understand that the child does not act that way intentionally.